LeBron James has made a few trips around the sun when it comes to his NBA career.
Selected No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA Draft, James is the only player from that draft class to still be playing in the NBA.
While this certainly makes James feel his age on a nightly basis as he plays with players barely removed from college, Monday night against the Houston Rockets really made James feel old.
With his Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Houston Rockets, James faced off against the No. 3 overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft.
Jabari Smith Jr. — a 19-year-old rookie out of Auburn University — reminded James of just how long he’s been playing in the league.
“You played against my dad your first NBA game ever,” Smith told James.
“Sacramento,” Smith Jr. added. “You feel old, don’t you?”
The elder Smith appeared in 31 games for the Sacramento Kings during the 2003-04 NBA season, though he received a “Did Not Play” against the Cavs to start the season.
In James’ highly anticipated debut against the Kings, the 18-year-old phenom did not disappoint, scoring 25 points with nine assists, six rebounds and four steals.
After a 140-132 win over Houston on Monday night, James was asked about learning that he played against Smith Jr’s. father, and the four-time NBA champion could only laugh.
“Made me feel old as crap,” James said after the game.
“I’ve had the pleasure and the opportunity to play against a couple of dad and father combinations. … It’s been a great ride, man. In these 20 years. And I’ve been able to see a lot of great players come in and come out. It’s always an honor for me.”
Unlike in his NBA debut, James won Monday night, scoring a season-high 48 points while adding nine assists and eight rebounds.
Smith Jr. had 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists as Houston dropped its 11th consecutive game.
“He was kind of mad because he said I made him feel old,” Smith said after the game, according to ESPN. “I knew I was going to tell him that; just something my dad had told me. I didn’t really know. That’s just a great stat.”